What to do Post-Run

Most articles tend to tell you what to do before your run: how to get motivated, what to eat and when before you run, what to wear, and so on. But what about after the run? You can’t just walk in the door and resume your normal day. There are a few things you need to do first!
Your run is not complete until you stretch. There are a lot of articles floating around that say stretching is bad for running, but they often refer to pre-run static stretching. That actually is bad, as your muscles aren’t warmed up yet and static stretching can actually injure yourself. But post-run, your muscles are warmed up and if you don’t stretch you can hurt yourself! Do a short yoga sequence (there are tons on YouTube), or even just a round of quad stretches, calf stretches, and deep lunges.
After you stretch, you need to refuel. This is particularly important after a long run, or any run that lasts longer than an hour. You need to eat a snack high in protein and carbs to replace what your muscles burned through, and to get stronger. Eat within 30 minutes to an hour after working out to get the most benefit from your snack. Keep it simple and between 200-300 calories—a little less if you ran under an hour and a little more if over an hour.
In addition to refueling, you need to hydrate! This isn’t usually something that most people have a problem with though, because you’re typically thirsty when you finish running, but some need the reminder. Drink water when you finish, drink some more when you eat your snack, and continue to drink throughout the day. Dehydration is something you should not mess with—it can cause fatigue and stomach trouble, in addition to more serious problems if you regularly don’t drink enough water.
Change out of your sweaty clothes as soon as you can. You probably have class to run to, or just want to relax on the couch, but it is important to take the time to put on some clean clothes. The longer you wear those sweaty clothes, the smellier your workout clothes can get—eventually, you won’t be able to get rid of the smell. The sweat also gets trapped between your tight running clothes and your body which can cause body acne.
Lastly, plan your next run! You may not have wanted to run before leaving your room or apartment, but I’m willing to bet that you feel better about it after it’s done. Use that post-run high to plan out the details for your next run. Write it in on your calendar so you’re more likely to actually do the run, and lay out your running clothes and shoes so you’ll feel guilty if you don’t use them. Use that post-run time to prepare yourself for the next run!

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